Meb Keflezighi chases down Kenya’s Robert Cheruiyot at the ING New York City Marathon on Nov. 1. Photo by Randy Lemoine.
It only took 27 years. For the first time since Alberto Salazar ran away with the title in 1982, an American won the ING New York City Marathon. On Sunday, Nov. 1, Meb Keflezighi cruised to victory in 2:09:15 wearing a “U.S.A.” singlet. Does his win signal the return of the great American marathoner?
Back in the 1970s and early 1980s, marathon legends Frank Shorter, Bill Rodgers, Joan Benoit Samuelson and Salazar enjoyed an era when Americans actually won races, and inspired a generation of runners to hit the pavement in the process—running boom, anyone? Indeed, Rodgers has the most major marathon wins—8 of them—of any runner in history according to the World Marathon Majors, a two-year race series with a $1 million prize. (New York, Boston, Chicago, London and Berlin comprise the Majors, along with the Olympics and World Championships as qualifying races.) But African runners have largely dominated the sport since. Sure, an American star like Deena Kastor—who won Chicago in 2005 and London in 2006—has challenged the status quo every now and then. But on the world’s streets at large, the U.S. hasn’t been a factor. Certainly not like Kenya or Ethiopia. But this year on the mean streets of New York, a total of six American men finished in the top 10—the most since 1979—with Keflezighi taking the crown. All signs point to a potential renaissance. Read the rest of this entry →